Breadboarding circuits

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Zeeus

Joined Apr 17, 2019
597
"want" to breadboard (copper clad) every (not repetition) circuit i learn

How can TS get the most out of breadboarding the circuit?

Also, should he make a circuit after learning it or at the end of the day, make the circuits he learned that day?

Sorry for trivial question

Thanks for your current input
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
797
Not trivial at all, very good questions if you're just starting out...

I use plugin breadboard for initial trials & thinking. To make it more permanent I use perfboard - the type with individual solder pads - and solid core hookup wire often routed much like the tracks on a PCB rather than point to point.

More often now I'm going straight to PCB with SMD parts, now small PCB are so cheap (well relatively for me).

As to your second question is do you mean writing things down?

Keep a lab notebook and write it down as you go. Start a fresh page each day and date it at the top. Write down your thinking, draw snippets of circuits, things you tried, even if they didn't work, your observations and measurements, sketches of scope waveforms, etc. Often you will solve a problem and look back in your notes and see that you came close earlier and that helps train your thinking going forward. Sometimes, at the end of the day it helps to briefly write down your thoughts about the day and ideas for things to try tomorrow.

Hope that helps.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,914
Don't get too dogmatic about your approach -- find what works well for you and also accept that what works well for you will change as you gain experience.

While trying to build every circuit you come across seems great on the surface, you will find at some point pretty quickly that the amount that you actually learn that way will suffer because of how it will limit the total number of circuits you get exposed to. You need both academic/theoretical knowledge and practical/hands-on knowledge and you need to find a good balance. At first, most circuits will be worthy of a deep dive and taking good notes and, in particular, playing around with the circuits to see what happens as you change things and then trying to plan what changes in the circuit will cause what changes in behavior and then trying them out -- and the ones that don't do what you expected are the most valuable ones because the ones that do only confirm what you already know (which has value), but the ones that don't expand what you know (if you let them).

As you gain some confidence in your understanding of the basics you will find that you don't need to actually build most of the circuits that you come across that are near that same level. Read and think about them and start becoming picky about which ones you actually build. Look for ones that push your comfort level a bit and that you can learn from -- and never forget the value of playing around and seeing what happens and comparing that to what you think should happen and, where necessary, reconciling the two.
 

Delta prime

Joined Nov 15, 2019
372
Hello their:) some things to remember about the connections solderless breadboard
Connections are not suited for very high frequency work since the stray resistance and capacitance of the leads, spring contacts and jumper wires can introduce some degradation of the waveforms like clock signals as the frequency increases. 1MHz is usually safe and circuits running at up to 10MHz to 16MHz are usually possible if care is taken in the layout and the breadboard is of good qualityConnections are not suitable for components that rely upon a large ground plane connection to some of their leads for thermal dissipation as may be the case with something like a power amplifier IC that is operating at high power levels. For experimental work with breadboards, these can often be driven at lower levels where heat sinking is not required or a heatsink can be added to the device to help with heat dissipationConnections are not suitable for high current flow such as may be required when prototyping something like a power MOSFET circuit. This is largely due to the higher impedance of these connections which can cause resistive heating and the fact that the maximum lead diameter is limited to 20AWG which is too small to handle larger currents. Current is generally limited to around 2A
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
2,431
If your goal is to understand the circuits better by building them and trying things out, I would suggest that you use a simulator like LTSPICE.

With a simulator, you can put together a complex circuit, change the values of components, and monitor every signal of interest in a fraction of the time it would take on a breadboard.

Bob
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
10,195
hi Zees,
I would echo WBahn's advice.

In addition I would suggest that you learn to use a circuit simulator that can be used to check your designs.
By running a simulation of your design it is possible to check it's performance over a range of ambient conditions and tolerances.

E
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,914
If your goal is to understand the circuits better by building them and trying things out, I would suggest that you use a simulator like LTSPICE.

With a simulator, you can put together a complex circuit, change the values of components, and monitor every signal of interest in a fraction of the time it would take on a breadboard.

Bob
Simulators are great tools, but too many people use them too heavily too soon. They need to facilitate thinking, not replace it.

I think most of us that didn't have access to a simulator in our early electronics education have a hard time realizing that because by the time we ever used one (or maybe even heard of one) we already had enough experience and enough of a feel to be able to use it as an effective substitute for what we would otherwise have done hands-on, including knowing what signals to even measure. But I've seen so many students that have been dumped into using a simulator with little or no hands-on work along with it and they had no idea how to interpret what it was telling them or how to get it to tell them what they were trying to find out. I saw this with virtually every group the first time I taught electronics when they had to design and simulate a circuit and write a report on it. The result was usually that they found some way to claim that the circuit was doing what it was supposed to do when it wasn't even close. They really did think that their reports were reasonable because they didn't have the experience to understand what the simulation results meant and what they didn't, so without realizing it they let the simulator do their thinking for them. The next semester I had them design, simulate, build, test, and demonstrate their circuit and the amount of learning went through the roof -- along with a lot of smoke from the circuits that their simulations said (per their interpretation of them) should have worked just fine.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
797
I too second, with some reservations as noted above, the use of a simulator, of which there are many. LTSpice seems to be the one of choice here, but there are others.

Two issues I have with my students and simulators: firstly they are a simulation, not reality. For many things they are good but they do break down if you use extreme values (though unlikely for the sort of stuff you're doing) and secondly there's a tendency, when its not working, to 'play around with values' rather than think things through as to why its not working...

Personally, though, there's nothing like getting your hands dirty :)
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
797
Verostrip used to be my go-to board but increasingly with chips you spend more time digging holes than wireing up.

I now prefer the "experimenters board" and "project boards" below the stripboard. Use with point-to-point solid core hookup wire.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,459
It is probably best to build circuits demonstrating new concepts one at a time just after studying the circuit and the concept, then when you get to the troubleshooting stage you will have it all fresh in you mind which makes reinforcement of the concepts better and also makes the troubleshooting go more smoothly.
 

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
781
Defiantly you can breadboard but starting with a working circuit in LTspice first then move to a breadboard proof of the circuit design, last how do you or will you present it in the final package.

kv
 
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